Keeping the Faith


For many, the holiday season ends with the emergence of a New Year. All too often the optimism and resolutions, that come with this time, begin to be contested almost immediately, by a myriad of life’s challenges.
Trying to maintain good intentions that emanate from Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other spiritual beliefs (many which occur during different times of the year) can be a challenge. America’s leaders are at odds. The media reminds us of the world’s acrimony as well as our divisions. And finally, we ourselves, have developed a great deal of mistrust concerning what, and what not, to believe. Inside us all is the power to initiate change. Every day we can choose to re-ignite the spirit of the Holidays. Here is to believing that change for the good can occur.

Every Day

If every day was Christmas
All throughout the year
Would we treat as special
Full of love and cheer
That of a longing moment
But annually behold
There is a light for guiding
Through the darkest cold

It’s the absence of Christmas
Marked but December date
Offering merely a portion
For why we cannot wait
Each soul knows the difference
As the angels do above
Christmas isn’t a date or place
Christmas belongs to love

So be it sunny morning
In the midst of warm July
Or a rainy autumn day
Beneath cool grayish sky
To desire miracle’s essence
Those believers won’t depart
For Christmas day never ends
When it’s deep within your heart.

Whatever the religious celebration might be. Whatever the occasion for national salute may require. The spirit of these can continually resound, whatever the calendar might detail, if kept in our hearts. As we enter Winter, long and dark, please remind yourself of the power in believing ideas/things larger than ourselves. Every day hopefully points to our commonality as we search for meaning. While each of us is unique, longing for significance and belonging are themes we share. Holidays may come and go, but what they represent resounds. Happy New Year.

Robert Houghtaling, a frequent contributor to these pages, is director of the East Greenwich drug program,


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